The world’s most dangerous philosopher

speaking at the Festival of Dangerous Ideas


39 thoughts on “The world’s most dangerous philosopher

  1. Krista says:

    As Peter Singer stated in his online discussion entitled; Ethical Issues in an Online World the Internet has forcefully provided society with more information at a quicker access point and additionally more conveniently. The introduction of the Internet has broken down many prevailing barriers and has allowed society to advance quiet rapidly. One huge advantage, which Singer touches upon, is that the Internet has enabled connectivity. Now users all over the world are able to instantly and conveniently communicate, share files, video messages and stay connected. This has been a phenomenon for both personal and business connections.
    An interesting perspective, which generated in my mind, proceeding Peter Singer’s video is the idea of anonymity. As the Internet is providing connectivity to users it also provides an anonymous element. The use of a pseudonym has grown increasingly popular with the advancement of the Internet. This identify shield acts as confidence to many users, encouraging them to do things they typically would not feel comfortable or safe doing. This confidence can be taken out of control and has introduced hackers into the equation. The question is then asked should identities be allowed to remain hidden for safety? Is this ethical?

  2. Sam Horton says:

    Singer speaks about the Internet bringing us (different countries) together, aiming for the theoretical idea of “One World.” Many aspects of the Internet, such as easy access to documents, media, and world debates demonstrate the positive attributes offered by the Internet, but as argued by Singer, also open the door to detrimental effects as well.
    Singer uses the example of Internet scams as a way thieves can easily attack un-suspecting citizens in countries across the world. While being one of many negative effects of the Internet, a positive attribute that Singer first argues about is that of the easy access of popular media such as music and movies. Singer then soon refutes the argument of this being a totally positive attribute because of the misuse of the Internet in regards to sharing creator’s work for free, infringing upon copyright laws, and undermining the efforts of creators to collect royalties on their works. The ethical issues related to such damaging activities may possibly only worsen in the near future as Singer points out the troubling issue with online texts, and the ability to now share and read entire books over the Internet. This ultimately places barriers between the creators and the royalties they have earned and deserve. Accredited to Singer’s discussion, it is fair to assume that the people of the world have changed their ethical behavior to adapt to the social and political advantages that the Internet has to offer today. Ultimately, we can argue that the Internet has changed our world for the better by bringing us together and improving the way we live, but the ethical issues of the misuse of the Internet, and the dangers particular individuals with access to the Internet pose to the public still remain. In addition, we must now deal with the pressure that governments place on our society to step in and implement rules and regulations to ensure that the negative effects of the Internet don’t vastly outweigh the positive ones.

  3. Janessa Famiglietti says:

    The Internet is a universal source of information that is freely available around the world for people to access. It allows knowledge to flow around the world without any boundaries or limitations. It provides efficiency to many people as it makes task such as research, and collaboration easy to do. As Peter Singer stated the Internet allows information to be accessed easily, create new works like Wikipedia, share information, and provide support groups online. Having access to these things has changed our world for the better as it causes many positive impacts. These positive implications have allowed for a culture of freedom by providing activist a place to organize and act on human rights issues. Similar to many things in life there are some negative implications that come about through the internet, which causes people to ask ethical questions about our online world. One ethical challenge that Singer identifies is the breach of copyrights. Singer questions the ethics of “balancing the public goods of making knowledge widely available with the individual property rights of the creators and owners of those rights.” The Internet allows people to breach copyrights like downloading music or movies without any sort of consequence expect for the copyright holders themselves. Individual property rights are disregard and abused on the Internet. This leads to the ethical question of censorship and whether boundaries should be imposed on the type of information and website available online. As Plato said in the Republic, “who guards the guardians?” The Internet attempts to answer this question in saying everyone watches each other. They display this answer by trying to create an open society with no limits to obtaining information.

  4. April Stead says:

    According to Peter Singer in his lecture ‘Ethical Issues in an Online World’, the internet has made numerous beneficial contributions to the world as we know it. Some of these contributions include easier access to online publications and other works, a more efficient way to do research, a simplified way to collaborate with others, and a way to access people with similar interests and medical conditions. Singer mentions the possibility of a futuristic universal library in which everyone across the globe would have access to the same immense collection of publications. The internet has created a sense of social cohesion, a global community where people across the globe can communicate and exchange ideas in an online community. This phenomenon has created a mobilization of political opinion which has led to changes to some oppressive and corrupt governments. Unfortunately, the internet has also brought with it many negative changes to our world. Access to the internet is now quick and easy which means nearly anyone can use it, including scammers, criminals, and child pornographers. When used by the wrong people, the internet can become a dangerous tool used to expose confidential information, assume another’s identity, or conduct other illegal activities. This contrast between the advantages and disadvantages of the internet has led to many ethical challenges and many questions. Where does privacy begin and end when it comes to the internet? Should anonymity be a basic right for everyone? Is all copyright infringement unethical? At what point does censorship not benefit the public? Does the exposure of confidential information cause havoc or a more transparent society? At what point does access to digital works no longer benefit the author/artist? Many of these questions continue to be debated today. Perhaps in time we will know the answers.

  5. Kate says:

    Peter Singer discusses the ethical spectrum involved in the online world. Through his lecture it seems he expresses that without the negative sides of the Internet the positive sides are not possible. Singer discusses how Internet allows has created the possibility of ‘one world’ as well as a ‘universal library’. The Internet transcends boundaries that have previously existed. The positives involve the ease of access to information, the ability to rally for political action, the freedom of speech and self-expression and the option for anonymity. It has changed many industries with the ability to connect with those far away as if they were down the hall. As social beings individuals who have previously felt isolated can find online communities and connect with others through similarities that they are unable to find in there physical community. There are negative aspects to the Internet as well including, the violation of copyright laws, which is only growing in its enormity as a problem for musicians and authors. Singer addresses the question of is there a place for regulation on the Internet? This is a complex question because if the Internet were to be more strictly controlled it could be to the detriment of the current benefits. Singer specifically mentions that the Internet has changed the world for the better through ease of access and for the worse for financial return to creators such as authors and musicians. People often try and justify and rationalize their illegal online activity for example when downloading music or books. The ethics of violating copyrights can be quite complex because it is so frequent in today’s society and there is little direct consequences that the severity of it has been diluted. It is difficult to see the consequences of online actions which can often be the cause of questionable actions. Anonymity online is a gift and a curse because when people can use it as a tool for bullying or illegal activities. On the other hand when people are trying to be legitimate on the Internet and release their information is it really safe? Personal privacy of information is an important and growing issue. People trust the internet more than they should.

  6. Michael Chiu says:

    Access to the internet is becoming so ingrained into modern society that it is slowly becoming a “fundamental right”, as Singer put it in his talk. It is without a doubt that the internet has had a positive impact on our world in terms of our ability to learn, converse, and lead efficient lives. However, with all these benefits, the internet has also allowed for problems that arise when talking about ethical issues. Singer firstly talks about how copyright is becoming a large problem as people struggle to find the balance between making knowledge widely available, and protecting property rights. He comes to the conclusion (one with which I agree) that as we move forward into the digital age, we will have to adjust for the sharing of information online. However, the American government has made a strong statement about this issue, with the FBI’s raid on Kim Dotcom’s mansion in January 2012. Kim Dotcom was the CEO of, a video and file-sharing website where users are able to access and view copyrighted content for free, and he is to this day under house arrest. Singer then goes on to talk about a more recent and perhaps larger issue in the digital world: Julian Assange and Wikileaks’ release of confidential documents. Wikileaks has the philosophy of “diplomacy in the public view”, which is a view shared by many other internet activists, namely Edward Snowden and Aaron Swartz. All three of these activists have been denounced by governments all over the world, especially the US. Edward Snowden has more or less been declared a traitor, Aaron Swartz was bullied into committing suicide by the FBI, and the US wants to prosecute Julian Assange. Singer and these three men all raise one important question: “who guards the guardians?”. The answer that Singer comes up with is that all of us do, as long as the government’s actions are transparent. Personally, I think that the views of Hillary Clinton regarding ethics of the internet and sharing of information mirror the views of many other people, including myself. Whilst she has said that the documents that Snowden and Assange have released violate the safety of many people, she has also advocated strongly against censorship. She may seem to change her views only when it benefits her, but it might also be that this issue is simply one that we have never faced before, and therefore the answer s hard to grasp at. She states that the release of the confidential documents on Wikileaks puts the safety of activists and other innocent lives at risk, but she also fights for the rights of those in the midst civil wars against their own government to have access to the internet in order to share information. I agree that some information should be kept confidential, especially information that may risk the lives of innocent people. However, I also believe that censorship of information is generally a negative thing, and that the problem we face now is finding the right balance between a world full of Edward Snowdens and a world where the government controls what we see.

  7. Jitesh Vyas says:

    In his lecture, Peter Singer shares his insights about the positive and negative impacts the internet has on certain aspects of society. He goes on to describe ethical issues in today’s online world and the ways in which they affect the physical world. With regards to positive impacts, he explains how the internet has improved the effectiveness and efficiency of communicating and researching in particular. From these two elements he illustrates the world in which we live currently; one where information is very accessible and collaboration with others is almost seamless through applications like Skype. While collaboration is excellent when constructive, he also alludes to how it can be destructive in the form of people contributing false information onto large and widely used knowledge repositories like Wikipedia. He does admit that Wikipedia promptly removes the incorrect information, but it still raises concerns regarding a dangerous online environment with seemingly unrestricted participation from the world’s online community. The negative impacts of the internet stem from the malicious side of this community; individuals who engage in scams, child pornography and assisting suicide attempts are all examples of how degenerative the internet can be. These aforementioned activities are rightfully deemed illegal to take part in. Some ethical issues and challenges brought up by Singer include the incidents of WikiLeaks, the Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak shutting down the internet during the protests in Egypt and making internet access a right. These issues impacted the ethics of the physical world as governments became more transparent and less trusted, regimes fell and initiatives are underway with regards to increasing internet access around the world with by Facebook and Project Loon by Google. The internet has significantly shaped our ethical world in its short existence and as time goes on and more events are experienced, we as a society will learn how to better utilize it and allow it to have its effect on us. I think that Peter Singer sums up his presentation in the beginning where he talks about how he loves and trusts the internet more than his spouse at times. Much like a relationship or marriage, the true effectiveness of the internet will only be realized when there is agreement or compromise and collaboration between all parties using it; this is idealistic but it might be realistic if technology improves technology as he mentioned to start.

  8. Spencer Page says:

    The creation of the Internet has forever changed the world as we knew it and has brought us closer to the idea of existing in “one world” by crossing boundaries that would not have otherwise existed, and allowing people to connect, unite and learn without limits. The Internet is more than just a useful research tool. It has arguably changed our world in the most profound ways by fostering collaboration and live discussions (via Skype), allowing people to access and share information, publish new works, read, listen to music, watch videos – regardless of where a person resides. Those with unusual interests, or rare medical conditions, now have the ability to connect with others around the world to exchange information, build support and a sense of community. This would be almost impossible without the advent of the Internet. Years ago, scholars could only dream of a “universal library” where all the documented knowledge from all parts of the world would be collected in one place. The Internet has become that place – a “library” of information that can be accessed by anyone and everyone, simultaneously. However the virtual availability of information is not without its faults, and begs ethical questions concerning copyright and how to balance the public goods of making knowledge widely available, with the individual property rights of the creators of the information, as well as issues around transparency. There is no doubt that the ease with which a person can retrieve information has lead to widespread breaches of copyright through the mechanism of being able to download – for free. Musicians, for example, are a victim of this breach as illegal downloads have become commonplace. Musicians have been forced to do more live concerts to make up for the decline in sales of their music. Authors may have the same fate as downloadable books replace hard copies. So the Internet has made our world better in terms of easy access to these goods, but has made it worse for the creators. In addition, the Internet is ripe for scams, piracy and other fraudulent activity. People will always find ways of navigating the Internet, leading to more serious breaches of information, which may or may not be altogether legal or ethical. There are currently no limits in terms of what is available – but should there be? Information around illegal crimes including child pornography, and voluntary euthanasia, are widely available, and overcoming this ethical challenge will undoubtedly lead to heated debate.

  9. Emily says:

    In Peter Singer’s talk, Ethical Issues in an Online World, he highlights some of the great aspects of the internet (such as creating community, creating governmental transparency, and making information more easily accessible) and some of the problematic aspects of the internet (such as sharing destructive information, child pornography, and making conditions more dangerous for some people). What I found particularly interesting in his discussion is how the internet can be and has been a tool for radical political transformations and organizing by activist groups. The internet has made it possible for the protests in Egypt to happen and for movements such as Idle No More and Occupy Wallstreet to spread and grow. Another recent example is the selfie protest that connected Lebanese citizens and immigrants across the world with the notamartyr hashtag in protest of the ongoing violence and corruption in Lebanon. While this type of online activism is inspiring in many ways, considering the recent revelations of the NSA spying on citizens, in what ways may this increased online exposure and activism put people at risk? What are the ethical concerns with people’s images being shared on the internet for activist causes-especially if a person does not want their image shown? What are the potentialities of online activism and what are the limitations?

    (Link to #notamartyr images here)

  10. Eman Zourob says:

    According to Peter Singer’s lecture: “Ethical Issues in an Online World,” technology has crossed all kinds of boundary that can possible exist. It brings all countries closer and makes the world unite as one entity. In terms of how the internet changes the world for the better: Internet helps researchers collaborate with each other by the fastest methods available. It also tells us information about the weather, economy, extra…, and it allows us to communicate with people all over the world. Moving forward to how the internet changes the world for the worse. As internet gives us unlimited freedom to write and download whatever we want, it can be harmful as followed: first, people who download online materials illegally can cut the author’s and the publisher’s profit. Consequently, violating copy rights. Second, internet has been used to publish information about some people’s private life without asking for their permission. Thus, it has led to breach privacy and confidentiality rights. Finally, some of the ethical challenges that Singer keeps an eye on are: Who should controls the internet (government vs. pirates)? Should there be censorship on the internet (child pornography vs. assisting people to commit painless suicide)? Should accessing the internet be a fundamental right (freedom of expression vs. unfairness because of poverty)? Where privacy begins and ends, and what boundaries should be addressed when it comes to confidentiality (serving a public good vs. earning profit through publishing scandals)?

  11. Eman Zourob says:

    According to Peter Singer’s lecture: “Ethical Issues in an Online World,” technology has crossed all kinds of boundary that can possible exist. It brings all countries closer and makes the world unite as one entity. In terms of how the internet changes the world for the better: Internet helps researchers collaborate with each other by the fastest methods available. It also tells us information about the weather, economy, extra…, and it allows us to communicate with people all over the world. Moving forward to how the internet changes the world for the worse. As internet gives us unlimited freedom to write and download whatever we want, it can be harmful as followed: first, people who download online materials illegally can cut the author’s and the publisher’s profit. Consequently, violating copy rights. Second, internet has been used to publish information about some people’s private life without asking for their permission. Thus, it has led to breach privacy and confidentiality rights. Finally, some of the ethical challenges that Singer keeps an eye on are: Who should control the internet (government vs. pirates)? Should there be a censorship on the internet (child pornography vs. assisting people to commit painless suicide)? Should accessing the internet be a fundamental right (freedom of expression vs. unfairness because of poverty)? Where privacy begins and ends, and what boundaries should be addressed when it comes to confidentiality (serving a public good vs. earning profit through publishing scandals)?

  12. Aaron Rush says:

    In Peter Singer’s lecture titled “Ethical Issues in an Online World, he discusses how the internet has allowed for quick access of information and how this has impacted the world tremendously. Peter Singer himself is a respected writer and as such, part of his talk discusses a “universal library”. This would allow everyone to gain access to the same information and publications across the world. As he discusses in his talk, this was attempted by Google but was shut down because of the issues involving copyright. Touching on the idea of a “universal library”, he also discusses how the internet has allowed for a global community, which allows for people all around the world to share and exchange ideas instantly. This global change has impacted many industries in both positive, as well as negative ways. One of the negatives to the internet is how easy it is to break copyright laws. At one instance in his speech, he asks the audience how many of them have broken copyright laws, by downloading something illegally. Nearly the whole audience raised their hands, including Peter Singer. He also addresses the question of whether the internet should be policed or not. Today, this issue is very complex with there being no right answer. By policing the internet, this would cause for it to stop growing at such a fast pace, but by not policing the internet, many copyright laws are broken. There are many questions that are not answered that I suspect may never fully be answered. One of the main questions is simply where is the line drawn, should anyone be allowed to do anything on the internet, or should there be boundaries to protect people.

  13. Wilton Shu says:

    As stated in Peter Singer’s lecture, Internet has made the world a better place to live. For instance, Internet enhances the efficiency and effectiveness of research works as it allows different authors to work together regardless of where they are across the globe. With the aids of email and Skype, discussion and transmission of electronic documents can be done in real life among authors, no matter where they are. Internet also brings closer to the idea of one world as it enables people to connect very easily across different countries or nations. It makes “universal library” possible where knowledge and information can flow freely from one person to another with little or no cost.
    Despite Internet provides us with positive impacts, a number of ethical challenges have been raised during the lecture. For example, Singer raised a question of “how do we balance the public goods of making knowledge widely available, with the individual property rights of the creators of the information?” Too often people can download materials online such as music, movies or other electronic documents at no cost. The ease of breaching copyrights would make our world worse off in terms of the financial returns to the creators for their work. In addition, disclosure of confidential information and the release of information by anonymous authors are also some of the ethical issues that are associated with the Internet. Some governments claim that the disclosure of confidential information would seriously harm the public and want to regulate it. Singer considers that the release of information relating to public interest should be allowed. This would enable the countries to be more transparent. Although the release of information by anonymous authors may result in spreading malicious information, it would protect people from political prosecution. Finally, Singer agrees that some malicious websites should be controlled but political censorship or closure of websites for activists is unacceptable as access to the Internet is a fundamental right for everyone.

  14. Lily K says:

    In his discussion on Ethical Issues in an Online World, Singer addresses how the Internet has positively changed the world for the better. The Internet has become an essential tool that allows individuals to explore, connect and collaborate with others all around the world. One may use Skype to communicate with loved ones over seas, take part in human rights protests, conduct research by accessing public online research libraries, and so forth. Although the Internet has greatly impacted our society, it has also presented several ethical issues: the breach of copyrights and the dangers of releasing confidential documents. With the rapid advancement of technology, downloading movies, music and books are becoming increasingly more accessible to Internet users. As a result, musicians may schedule more concerts and tour dates since they are no longer generating money from their albums alone. But, what about writers? How can they make a living when people illegally download their books online? While the Internet serves as beneficial tool, it can also potentially create a more dangerous world. Singer concludes his lecture by reminding the audience that the Internet may require boundaries, and that the idea of an ‘open Internet’ becomes quite complex when political censorship becomes involved. He states that these boundaries lie where there is a clear public interest in the knowledge being available, and that this knowledge should also serve as a public good.

  15. Alex Nisavic says:

    The Internet has transformed our world in many ways. For the better, the Internet is a beneficial tool that allows research and information from a plethora of sources. It withholds online encyclopedias (i.e. Wikipedia) that have more information than any book can hold. Communication has also become more prevalent not just on a local scale, but a global scale. Through online donations, this global scale also allows users to assist impoverished people who are trying to make a living on small business ventures. For the worse, online support can lead to radicalism and acts of terrorism. Internet scams are also more common and harmful to users that are unaware of online scamming schemes. Breaches of privacy are also a primary concern to users of the World Wide Web.

    Peter Singer identified several ethical challenges in the online world. One example is the fact that only 30% of the world has access to the Internet. Although this number will increase over time, it is still relatively small and the Internet should be considered a human right. Copyright issues are also an ethical dilemma. The Internet offers a vast range of copyrighted material, however this accessibility makes it difficult to provide a financial return to the creators of this material. The Internet is a large community allowing support of rare interests or conditions creating a social cohesion that may result in a favourable or an unfavourable impact on society.

  16. Eric Pattara says:

    In the video, Ethical Issues in an Online World, Peter Singer identifies a number of ways by which the internet has impacted our world. He leads the argument on how it has improved our means of communicating, connecting those all over the planet almost instantaneously. This aspect of the internet has allowed society to evolve by getting to know those from different cultures, reconnect with distant relatives and friends. It aides the academic world immensely through the accessibility that it allows for those to collaborate with one another on a variety of projects. Of course, as a counterargument, there are also many ways by which the internet has negatively affected our world. A point that I noticed early on in the video was a comment that his wife made to him regarding the amount of time he spends online, alluding to the fact that he could allocate more time to being with his wife. It gives us an idea on the effect that the internet has on our society, ironically disconnecting those from their world whilst connecting them to the online world.
    Singer points out the dangers associated with the accessibility of online information. This is a fair thing to say, due to the fact that there is no true way to make something on the internet private. There is always potential for that information (whatever it may be) to be released, which could jeopardize the privacy and safety of all who use it.

  17. steph b says:

    In 1969, a group of guys at Berkley were tackling a problem on behalf of the government: how to maintain communication should the worst case scenario ever happen: nuclear world war. Their solution: a revolutionary idea called the internet. Fortunately, it never had to be used for its intended purpose, but it did, ironically, manage to do what the perceived enemy in cold war did not – take over the world.
    There is no denying the internet has changed the world. In accepting the internet, society has made trades: patience for speed, privacy for access, individual for collective.
    In his speech, Peter Singer address all of these trade-offs. He tackles such topics as copyright issues (privacy for access – individual for collective), WikiLeaks (privacy for access), Anonymous (privacy for access – individual for collective or in their case collective vs individual), social media (privacy for access – individual for collective), mass collaboration (patience for speed – privacy for access – individual for collective) and information access (patience for speed – privacy for access – individual for collective). He highlights the bright – broader academic collaboration, Arab Spring, and people with rare medical conditions finding and supporting one another; the greys – WikiLeaks, copyright infringement via torrent downloading; and the dark – terrorism and child pornography.
    At the end of his speech, Singer, who’s also known as “The World’s Most Dangerous Philosopher”, purposes a radical idea: that access to the internet should be a universal human right. What makes this idea dangerous? It might just level the playing field…for everyone.

  18. Elizabeth G says:

    Peter Singers discusses how Internet has changed the world for the better by allowing us to cross international boundaries, providing easier communication. Researchers are able to share information and collaborate easily internationally. Research, books, and information are easier to access with less time and cost. Internet support groups can be formed where people of similar interests can gather and share experiences to provide relief. Peter Singers brings up the idea of a Universal Library, which can provide access everyone for all information. However he points out that there are scams that arise as well as ethical issues with copyright breaching. With copyright breach via downloading it hinders the income of the creators of the information being downloaded and potentially decreasing their ability to support themselves. Internet can act as a catalyst to uprisings such as those in Tunisia where private government documents were released stating bribes had to be paid to the Royal Family. It can also expose government corruption such as in Kenya, changing the election votes and potentially improving the government and lowering death rates of thousands of poor Kenyan children. This created rioting and violence, which is a small price to pay if lives are saved in the end. Making Internet available to rural communities gives them information for competitive selling of goods for increased income and increasing the possibility of Internet being a fundamental human right. With issues such as child pornography and information breaching, ethical reasoning needs to be addressed to better regulate Internet access.

  19. Danny H says:

    Peter Singer, in “Ethical Issues in an Online World”, speaks passionately on the various challenges facing philosophers when it comes to dealing with ethics in the increasingly global environment. He covers topics spanning the entire spectrum, from social reform to the free use and vast accessibility of data. I would like to take a closer look at the ethical issues surrounding the concept of uploading and exchanging copyrighted works on the internet. Dr. Singer mentions the idea of balancing the public goods of making knowledge widely available, with the individual property rights of the creators. From a utilitarian perspective, the free access and availability of data provides the greatest amount of good for the largest amount of people. Artists who crouch under the protection of copyright may in fact gain less renown, and commercial compensation, than those who embrace the pirating nature of their audience. One such instance is during the extremely successful pay what you want campaign that Radiohead, a well known band, ran on their website.
    The availability of data will also inspire greater competition among artists themselves, which would cumulate in providing the best product to consumers. The assistance of piracy have also provided support for amateur artists, who may not have any consumers without the help of word of mouth advertising through free downloads of their songs; moreover, I would argue that the introduction of new, notable talent provides a greater good to society than perhaps an ethical dilemma where the most profitable band loses one percent of their revenue. However, Dr. Singer also provides a solid argument on how this system would be extremely detrimental to authors, who make the majority of their income from royalties. I believe that this system would instead filter out some of the less successful, and perhaps less affluent, authors, and support those authors who are more likely to contribute significantly to society in general. In times long past, artists created magnificent works of art with the sole goal of sharing it with as many people as possible; when did society shift to become so compensation oriented?

  20. Brittany Hendriks says:

    To say whether the Internet has changed our world for the better or worse cannot confidentially be answered at this point in time. The positive effects of the Internet can be more easily seen than the negative, such as the Singers theories of ‘one world’ and a ‘universal library’. However, the social repercussions that the Internet may not become fully visible for years to come. New challenges are constantly arising, such as the reliance on digital rather than in-person communication, and an increase of adolescent insecurities. The correlation with these challenges and their scope cannot be accurately determined until we can observe these effects over generations. I agree with Singer that currently, in order to move forward, we must adjust for technologies constant changes in an ethical way. Presently it seems that the Internet overall, is a benefit to society. However, there are many variables we cannot properly take into account without time. Some of the ethical challenges that Singer identifies are breaches of copyright, child pornography, and pirating. Singer questions how we “balance between public goods of making knowledge widely available with individual property rights of the creators, or others that hold those rights.” Singer gives the example of child pornography as a case where censorship may be necessary. He also discusses pirating music online, which has caused artists to seek different means of making up for ‘stolen’ income. My views align with Singer’s in the way that the challenges of the Internet must be assessed, and viable ethical solutions are necessary. Singer states that the Internet creates a “potentially better world, but a dangerous world.” As always, time will tell.

  21. Jonathan I says:

    The internet has brought considerable value to the world by breaking the physical boundaries around us. As the largest library of information and means of interaction, the internet promotes efficiency and acts as a bridge between developed nations and developing nations who would otherwise not be privy to these benefits. The internet has an immense potential to serve the public’s best interest, as illustrated by Singer’s example of Wikileaks as an accessible source of information that can be used to make governments more transparent to citizens. Also, the internet can be used to organize the mobilization of protesters, which led to the coup of corrupt leaders during the Arab Spring. However, the power of the internet is the catalyst for many unethical acts as well. For example, it allows for the widespread distribution of child pornography and the interactive component gives scammers a larger network to exploit.
    A major ethical challenge lies in weighing the value of an online document against the harm it could cause. An example is online piracy, in which we sacrifice the intellectual property rights of the creator for the provision of a public good. How are we to judge whether a document’s value to the public outweighs the rights of the creator and who should make this judgment? On the internet, the public often rules in favour of itself and publishes the document without the appropriate consent, which may not always be the ethical route. If this is not sufficient, then would an independent panel be a better alternative to make the decision? Singer also refers to similar issues when it comes to online censorship and when publishing confidential government data. The ambiguity around this judgment is arguably the most important issue in digital ethics today.

  22. Madison Lott says:

    In Peter Singer’s lecture, Ethical Issues in an Online World, he states, “It doesn’t take remarkable insight to suggest that the defining idea of the coming decade will be the Internet.” In this quote, Singer is stating the inevitable, but as a technology driven society we need to look deeper, and further consider not only the benefits, but also the ethical complications that come along with the rapid development of the Internet. Access to this online world has not only changed the way we research, and share information with one another, but has provided us with a medium, which gives people the opportunity to communicate with others around the world who share similarities. Singer mentions an example of an online community that works to bring people together who may have rare medical conditions. These online communities allow people living in different countries to connect with one another, learn from each other’s experiences, and feel a sense of both belonging and comfort. Without the Internet this would be impossible. The Internet has also made the utopian dream of a “universal library” realistic. People are able to share knowledge, documents, and information, as well as access what others have shared at the simple touch of a fingertip. Unfortunately, this sharing of information arises a variety of ethical questions, such as copyright issues, and the leaking of important documents. Musicians are potentially loosing money due to illegal downloading of music, and important political documents have been brought to the public eye due to websites like Wikileaks. In Signer’s lecture he refers to the Internet as his “great love”. People living in the 21st century have developed a strong love and dependance for the Internet, and this may cause them to turn a blind eye to the risks that are associated. The Internet is limitless. It is an online world that is not going to go away anytime soon. We need to continue to educate one another on ethical issues like the ones Singer addresses in his lecture to ensure a bright future. Instead of constantly worrying about the future, I believe the most important thing to do is stay positive and focus on the life changing benefits the Internet is presently able to offer to us.

  23. aaronmacrae says:

    The Internet has only started to affect our way of life. It is beginning to transform everything around us. According to Peter Singer, the Internet has proven to be an amazing tool for research, communication and knowledge. Bringing countries closer than ever and making the impression of one world. My take on the Internet is, we haven’t seen anything yet. This is only the start of an astounding revolution that will only further our advancements and knowledge of the world. It is hard to say whether the Internet is entirely good but I do think it is a necessary tool for everyone’s daily use.
    In Singer’s speech he mentions his idealistic notion of everyone having a universal human right to be allowed the privilege to the Internet. While this is up for discussion I could see problems that could arise from these rights. Such as people who have already abused their privileges on the Internet, such as scammers and child pornographers to name a few. Ethical reasoning needs to be addressed for Internet access aimed at such offenders should be better regulated for the safety of our society and youth culture. Once something is on the Internet though it will be there forever. Stinger addresses the dangers associated with the availability of online information. There is always potential for information to be shared or viewed. But is there any true way to make something on the Internet private anymore? These are questions that will most likely be attended to in the future if not already being addressed.

  24. Ziyan Xian says:

    Peter Singer has summarized the rapid change in technology throughout the century: the good and the bad. As Singer said in his speech, as more people come in contact with the internet, the more we rely on it. Not just for social connection, but also for projects, work purposes, political actions, and information about social issues and aspects around the world. With the internet, we are closer to the idea of one world, a contribution to globalization. Singer also mentioned the issues regarding exposure of false information other ethical issues regarding the use of internet. Although the openness of the internet has created a free environment for users to have access to almost anything, however, not all information that is on the internet is ethical or legal. Such as child pornography sites which should be banned and censored for users to access. Hence as Signer described, with technology advancing, we are living in a potentially dangerous but better world.

  25. Kim Wu says:

    Peter Singer, in “Ethical Issues in an Online World”, talks about how the internet is changing the world from an ethical point of view. Philosophers all around the world are trying to see what an ideal way to handle this drastic change is. Dr. Singer talks about the accessibility of documents, media and as some of the positive effects offered by the internet, but political debates, unpublished documents, illegal sharing as problems that will face philosophers. Dr. Singer did a quick survey in the room, and 90%+ of the people in that room have accessed popular media such as music or movies. He argues that this is due to the ease to publish such media and documents, yet people do not face consequences. Anyone with an internet access can go on Wikipedia and change some facts, while that can affect another individual on the opposite side of the world. A huge ethical battle with this issue is the infringement of the copyright law. Dr. Singer questions the ethics of “balancing the public goods making knowledge widely available with the individual property rights of creators.” Individual property Rights are disregarded and abused continuously over the internet. This leads to the ethical question of “who should be in charge of this problem?” Many of these questions continue to be debated until today.

  26. Will Chapman says:

    The internet is certainly a mixed blessing. There are many aspects of the internet, such as the ready access to information provided by Wikipedia, the breaking down of barriers of communication provided by services such as Skype and E-Mail, and the archiving of out-of-copyright material provided by services like Google Books and Project Gutenberg, that are almost unilaterally good for the world as a whole. It would have been nearly inconceivable to someone living a few decades ago that it would be possible to start reading a book on a whim without leaving the comfort of your home, then correct an error that an encyclopedia had made about that book almost instantly. The problems with the internet arise when easy access to information goes too far. People feel that they are entitled to the arts and entertainment that they want quickly, easily, and, most importantly, freely.
    Singer noted that some of the ethical challenges to be faced are the balancing of creator rights with individual consumer rights, and balancing the right to information with the security of the world’s nations

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